What’s the goal of business development?

by | Aug 2, 2022

The goal of business development is to find growth opportunities and generate long-term value for your organization. Learn more below.

Business development is a crucial activity for any company that’s willing to grow and establish itself. It’s the engine that allows you to innovate and create sustainable growth. But, there’s still a lot of confusion about it.

To help you have a more complete understanding of business development, let’s answer a burning question:

What’s the goal of business development?

The easy answer would be “to find clients obviously“. But that would be only a tiny part of the story and would not cover the full spectrum of what is really business development.

Business development is not all about finding clients. But, it’s about developing and implementing growth opportunities in a sustainable and profitable way. To achieve that, you need a multitude of processes and tasks that in the long term, will generate value for your organization.

the business development school - what is business development

Simply looking at the definition of business development though is not enough to be able to prioritize your work. In fact, “tasks and processes” can still be very confusing if we don’t add something to them.

The missing ingredient is precisely understanding the purpose of business development. If you don’t have a clear idea of why you need business development, you’ll not be able to design consistent processes to achieve your goals.

The goal of business development

To become an efficient business development professional you need to understand the reasons why you do business development. Identifying your mission will provide you with the right context and tools to identify opportunities and prioritize your work.

As a business developer, you are responsible to find new growth opportunities and this needs to happen under 2 conditions:

  1. They need to generate value for your stakeholders
  2. These opportunities need to have a long-term effect

If you take these elements into account you have your business development mission:

The goal of business development is to create long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.

The BD School

The concept of value in business development

Now you know that your goal is to generate value. But…how do you define value?

That’s a fair question and not an easy one to answer because the value is a subjective concept. Moreover, it highly depends on the stage you’re currently at with your company.

The best way to look at it is by identifying what are the initiatives that would be most valuable in the present moment, but that at the same time, have some effect in the future.

For example, let’s say you work for a startup and you’re creating your product or service. You can’t really focus on generating revenue, because you simply don’t have an offer that’s ready to sell.

So what should you do as a business developer?

One of the most valuable things you can get at this stage is feedback on your offer. Therefore, your job could involve interviewing potential customers, partners, and other relevant stakeholders.

The information you will gather has both an immediate effect and a long-term effect.

On the spot, you’ll validate your assumptions and make sure you work in the right direction. In the long-term, you’ll build a strong network and a solid value proposition that will generate revenue once your offer is ready to go to market.

Other examples of value could be: generating awareness about your company; directly outreaching ideal customers; building win-win partnerships; organizing events; etc.

The common denominator is always the same:

You need to reflect on what’s the most valuable asset for your company at the moment and then think of initiatives that can generate that value.

Understand your ecosystem

Now that you’re more aware of what is value in business development, you need to think in terms of the ecosystem. As a business developer, you operate in a complex environment.

There isn’t only your company, but an entire system of organizations and stakeholders that could help you or prevent you from achieving your goals.

Generally speaking, when you look at your ecosystem you need to take 3 main things into account:

  1. Customers
  2. Markets
  3. Relationships

Customers are the stakeholders that directly benefit from your offer. You must know everything about your customers. Only in this way, you’ll be able to build products and services that solve their problems and that they will buy.

Markets are the actual places where commercial activities happen. They include customers, competitors, institutions, and other infrastructure. Depending on your geographical area and industry you’ll have different market outlooks.

You need to learn about your market and constantly be updated with the latest trends in order to spot growth opportunities.

Last, relationships include all the relevant stakeholders that can help you achieve your goals. Potential partners, media, or institutions are relationships that you could leverage to your advantage.

Your first priority as a business development professional should always be to deeply understand your ecosystem by running market research, competitor analysis, and customer research.

Once you know what your ecosystem looks like, you can leverage it and start building growth opportunities.

Leverage your ecosystem

The best way to become a valuable asset for your organization is by being able to leverage your ecosystem. In simple terms, it means using your knowledge of your ecosystem to maximize your results.

This usually is the challenging part of being a business developer, because it requires time, patience, and experience. First of all, you need to be constantly updated with the latest trends in your ecosystem. Second, you need business acumen to be able to spot opportunities.

Third, you need to be a trusted member of your ecosystem. The other members of your ecosystem need to see you as a trustworthy and serious player in order to do business with you.

Last, you can’t only take advantage of your ecosystem, but need to think about win-win solutions that actually add value also to the other members of your ecosystem.

Only in this way, you’ll be able to leverage your relations and build transformative opportunities.

All this seems complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, there are a lot of actions you can take to make sure you’re involved with your ecosystem and ready to act whenever the opportunity comes.

These are some ideas to help you stay in the know with your ecosystem:

  1. Join industry communities
  2. Connect with your peers
  3. Signup for industry newsletters
  4. Attend meetups
  5. Share your industry knowledge online
  6. Connect with potential partners
  7. Follow your competitors
  8. Read the news

To sum up

The goal of business development is to generate long-term value for your organization by leveraging your ecosystem. In order to do that, you first need to develop a deep knowledge of your market, customer, competitors, and other relevant stakeholders.

Become obsessed with generating value for your ecosystem, rather than just taking advantage of it. This will set you apart as a true business development professional and people will like to work with you.

If you’re ready to upskill yourself and be able to leverage your ecosystem, join our personalized learning platform.

The goal of business development is to find growth opportunities and generate long-term value for your organization. Learn more below.

Business development is a crucial activity for any company that’s willing to grow and establish itself. It’s the engine that allows you to innovate and create sustainable growth. But, there’s still a lot of confusion about it.

To help you have a more complete understanding of business development, let’s answer a burning question:

What’s the goal of business development?

The easy answer would be “to find clients obviously“. But that would be only a tiny part of the story and would not cover the full spectrum of what is really business development.

Business development is not all about finding clients. But, it’s about developing and implementing growth opportunities in a sustainable and profitable way. To achieve that, you need a multitude of processes and tasks that in the long term, will generate value for your organization.

the business development school - what is business development

Simply looking at the definition of business development though is not enough to be able to prioritize your work. In fact, “tasks and processes” can still be very confusing if we don’t add something to them.

The missing ingredient is precisely understanding the purpose of business development. If you don’t have a clear idea of why you need business development, you’ll not be able to design consistent processes to achieve your goals.

The goal of business development

To become an efficient business development professional you need to understand the reasons why you do business development. Identifying your mission will provide you with the right context and tools to identify opportunities and prioritize your work.

As a business developer, you are responsible to find new growth opportunities and this needs to happen under 2 conditions:

  1. They need to generate value for your stakeholders
  2. These opportunities need to have a long-term effect

If you take these elements into account you have your business development mission:

The goal of business development is to create long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.

The BD School

The concept of value in business development

Now you know that your goal is to generate value. But…how do you define value?

That’s a fair question and not an easy one to answer because value is a subjective concept. Moreover, it highly depends on the stage you’re currently at with your company.

The best way to look at it is by identifying what are the initiatives that would be most valuable in the present moment, but that at the same time, have some effect in the future.

For example, let’s say you work for a startup and you’re creating your product or service. You can’t really focus on generating revenue, because you simply don’t have an offer that’s ready to sell.

So what should you do as a business developer?

One of the most valuable things you can get at this stage is feedback on your offer. Therefore, your job could involve interviewing potential customers, partners, and other relevant stakeholders.

The information you will gather has both an immediate effect and a long-term effect.

On the spot, you’ll validate your assumptions and make sure you work in the right direction. In the long-term, you’ll build a strong network and a solid value proposition that will generate revenue once your offer is ready to go to market.

Other examples of value could be: generating awareness about your company; directly outreaching ideal customers; building win-win partnerships; organizing events; etc.

The common denominator is always the same:

You need to reflect on what’s the most valuable asset for your company at the moment and then think of initiatives that can generate that value.

Understand your ecosystem

Now that you’re more aware of what is value in business development, you need to think in terms of Ecosystem. As a business developer, you operate in a complex environment.

There isn’t only your company, but an entire system of organizations and stakeholders that could help you or prevent you from achieving your goals.

Generally speaking, when you look at your ecosystem you need to take 3 main things into account:

  1. Customers
  2. Markets
  3. Relationships

Customers are the stakeholders that directly benefit from your offer. You must know everything about your customers. Only in this way, you’ll be able to build products and services that solve their problems and that they will buy.

Markets are the actual places where commercial activities happen. They include customers, competitors, institutions, and other infrastructure. Depending on your geographical area and industry you’ll have different market outlooks.

You need to learn about your market and constantly be updated with the latest trends in order to spot growth opportunities.

Last, relationships include all the relevant stakeholders that can help you achieve your goals. Potential partners, media, or institutions are relationships that you could leverage to your advantage.

Your first priority as a business development professional should always be to deeply understand your ecosystem by running market research, competitor analysis, and customer research.

Once you know what your ecosystem looks like, you can leverage it and start building growth opportunities.

Leverage your ecosystem

The best way to become a valuable asset for your organization is by being able to leverage your ecosystem. In simple terms, it means using your knowledge of your ecosystem to maximize your results.

This usually is the challenging part of being a business developer, because it requires time, patience, and experience. First of all, you need to be constantly updated with the latest trends in your ecosystem. Second, you need business acumen to be able to spot opportunities.

Third, you need to be a trusted member of your ecosystem. The other members of your ecosystem need to see you as a trustworthy and serious player in order to do business with you.

Last, you can’t only take advantage of your ecosystem, but need to think about win-win solutions that actually add value also to the other members of your ecosystem.

Only in this way, you’ll be able to leverage your relations and build transformative opportunities.

All this seems complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, there are a lot of actions you can take to make sure you’re involved with your ecosystem and ready to act whenever the opportunity comes.

These are some ideas to help you stay in the know with your ecosystem:

  1. Join industry communities
  2. Connect with your peers
  3. Signup for industry newsletters
  4. Attend meetups
  5. Share your industry knowledge online
  6. Connect with potential partners
  7. Follow your competitors
  8. Read the news

To sum up

The goal of business development is to generate long-term value for your organization by leveraging your ecosystem. In order to do that, you first need to develop a deep knowledge of your market, customer, competitors, and other relevant stakeholders.

Become obsessed with generating value for your ecosystem, rather than just taking advantage of it. This will set you apart as a true business development professional and people will like to work with you.

If you’re ready to upskill yourself and be able to leverage your ecosystem, join our personalized learning platform.

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Author
Lucia Piseddu
Founder at The BD School
The thing I love the most in business development is its creative process. My job is to help people unleash their potential and become great at business development.
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